True love and roots: a centenary re-assessment of the work of William Koyi among the Ngoni

Of all the black Lovedale evangelists who worked for the Livingstonia mission in Malawi in the 1870s and 1880s, William Mtusane Koyi was by far the most respected by his European colleagues. Yet now, exactly a century after his death, it may be argued that they underestimated the extent of his influence and failed to recognize the real nature of his contribution to the spread of Christianity among the Ngoni. In 1882, Koyi helped to open the new Ngoni station at Njuyu, where he worked, sometimes alone and under very difficult circumstances, until his death in 1886. The author describes the importance and significance of Koyi’s work, which consisted in the fact that, while never compromising his Christian beliefs, he was able to identify with traditional Ngoni ideas and values. His missionary methods may be summed up in his own composite phrase ‘true love and roots’ – the need to empathize with and win the confidence of a people in the midst of traumatic social and religious change. Ref.

Title: True love and roots: a centenary re-assessment of the work of William Koyi among the Ngoni
Author: Thompson, Jack
Year: 1986
Periodical: The Society of Malawi Journal
Volume: 39
Issue: 2
Pages: 15-25
Language: English
Geographic term: Malawi
External link: https://www.jstor.org/stable/29778562
Abstract: Of all the black Lovedale evangelists who worked for the Livingstonia mission in Malawi in the 1870s and 1880s, William Mtusane Koyi was by far the most respected by his European colleagues. Yet now, exactly a century after his death, it may be argued that they underestimated the extent of his influence and failed to recognize the real nature of his contribution to the spread of Christianity among the Ngoni. In 1882, Koyi helped to open the new Ngoni station at Njuyu, where he worked, sometimes alone and under very difficult circumstances, until his death in 1886. The author describes the importance and significance of Koyi’s work, which consisted in the fact that, while never compromising his Christian beliefs, he was able to identify with traditional Ngoni ideas and values. His missionary methods may be summed up in his own composite phrase ‘true love and roots’ – the need to empathize with and win the confidence of a people in the midst of traumatic social and religious change. Ref.